Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Stamp Club As A Genealogy Source

I have found some things pertaining to my genealogy research in unexpected but I never imagined that a stamp club, more properly, a philatelic society newsletter, would be a source for genealogy information.

While working through one of my assignments for a National Institute for Genealogical Studies course, I found a newsletter for the British North America Philatelic Society's Postal Stationery Study Group. Specifically in the group's September 2002 newsletter (Volume 18, No. 2), there was an article about the postal stationery cards, more commonly post cards, used by The Breithaupt Leather Company of Berlin, Ontario. This is the tannery and leather goods company formed through a partnership between my wife, Ellen's second great grandfather Jacob Wagner and his friend and brother-in-law Louis Breithaupt.

Following Jacob's unexpected and early death in 1858, Breithaupt continued the company under his name. The tannery, known in Kitchener, Ontario as the Eagle Tannery, once one of the largest tanneries in Canada, perhaps North America, closed in 1950. Below is an image of the used post cards from the Breithaupt Leather Company that the philatelic society posted in it's newsletter.

The newsletter contained more importantly an excellent article written by Chris Ellis that details the history of the leather company, including Jacob Wagner's involvement. The article also as a bonus cites the source of much of its information including a PhD dissertation.

Lesson learned - expect the unexpected! Findings additional sources of family history information may turn up in the most unusual places.


  1. As a former Postal History Collector I try to keep my eye out for covers to-and-from the small towns in Australia that my family lived in.